Creating digital products and solutions more and more simple and intuitive: a fascinating challenge, according to Melissa, User Experience Designer at the Volkswagen Digital:Lab in Berlin.
UX designers, in other words the experts who design the user experience, are extensively involved in the development process of new products. One of the Volkswagen Group centres of competence in this field is the Digital:Lab in Berlin. Here the solutions that will redefine the experience of mobility in the future take shape, helping to make the Volkswagen Group one of the main players for what concerns smart mobility services. A practical example is the We Deliver app, which allows a car to be used as a delivery address for online orders.
At Digital:Lab, the working environment is international. Currently 70 specialists – expected to soon increase to 120 – from 16 different countries work there. The official language is English, while the team is made up of a homogeneous mixture of software developers, product managers, and, obviously, UX designers. Melissa Zee came here from Singapore one year ago and is responsible for developing the user experience of various digital products.
Analysing user requirements
The most important aspects for the UX designer are knowing the users’ needs and making the products easy and nice to use accordingly. “Products should be intuitive”, says Melissa Zee. “People should not have to wonder what to do”. For her, this starts with a change of perspective: “In the past, the product and the technical solution were the focus. Today we only ask ourselves, ‘How can it benefit the customer?”.
To accomplish this, the product or its functions are carried out in small tasks, by analysing the user research and creating prototypes. User tests are also performed to eliminate assumptions and misconceptions, and visual elements are modelled to inject life into the product. At Digital:Lab, the method known as pair programming is used. Melissa works together with a colleague, bouncing questions and ideas back and forth such as: “Where should this button be placed? Where does it take the user? Is this logical for the user? Is the product enjoyable to use? Does it solve the problem?”. To discover whether the solution they have come up with is effective, the best way is to get out and talk to people. It is true that Melissa spends most of her time in the open-plan office in front of her screen, but she and her team often go to different locations to get feedback on their ideas and to test out their prototypes. Because direct contact with users is extremely valuable.
Each and every detail is important
One of the most engaging projects is the Identity Kit, a tool which allows users to access all of the Volkswagen Group’s digital services using a single account. This is just like a user’s digital fingerprint, which gives you full control of your personal data and one key to all digital services in the Volkswagen ecosystem. The login process must be quick and intuitive, and most of all run smoothly. Besides the classic password login there are other options, for example, logging in with a QR code or a phone number. With the prototype of the app on her smartphone, just a touch is sufficient. Every little detail counts, because what can seem simple and immediate is, in reality, the result of multiple interactions. The best user experience often passes unnoticed.
Source: TOGETHER.net – Volkswagen AG